Duterte assures full support for PMA graduates

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Baguio City, Philippines  — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Sunday led the commencement exercises of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Alab-Tala” Class of 2018 assuring new military officers of government’s full support.

In his speech, President Duterte promised to protect and defend the military and the police for as long as they do their lawful mandate and remain loyal to the Constitution.

“I will never allow, ever allow anybody be it the police, military, armed forces or the uniformed policemen [to go to jail],” he said.

“Just do your duty in accordance with law, ako na ang bahala sa inyo. (I will protect you),” he added.

The President lauded the new graduates for emerging “victorious” in their years inside the academy.

He noted that they would be facing “bigger challenges” ahead including the country’s problems in illegal drugs and terrorism.

“As you leave the halls of PMA and enter your chosen branches of service, you will be faced with realities that are far more complex than what you have been prepared for,” he stressed.

But he said he was confident that the new members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were ready to take on their new tasks as they have been “equipped with the knowledge and skills to excel.”

“Mistakes will always be inevitable but have confidence in knowing that the rules of the academy have honed you for the responsibilities that await you as you assume leadership roles in the armed forces,” he said.

“Remember always the three words that have been ingrained deeply in your hearts—courage, integrity and loyalty. Embody these words and use them to guide your actions throughout your careers,” he added.

He reiterated his promise to leave the country with strong armed forces and police force.

“I would want that before I get out of the presidency, I would have left behind a strong Armed Forces and PNP simply because these troubles now that we are facing will not disappear within the next four to seven to 10 years,” he said.

In terms of financial support and benefits, the President cited the approval of Joint Resolution (JR) No. 1, which increases the base pay of military and uniformed personnel as well as their bonuses and allowances.

He said the administration is also working to implement the Second Horizon of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP) with priority projects currently in several stages of completion “to ensure that the men and women in uniform are provided the benefits and armed with the equipment to perform their duties effectively.”

“The Filipino people look up to you as the protectors of our nation and the next leaders of tomorrow,” he told the graduates.

Among the officials present during the event were Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Chief of Staff General Rey Leonardo Guerrero.

Cadet First Class Jaywardene Galilea Hontoria, who hails from Iloilo, is the Alab-Class 2018 valedictorian. Hontoria, who received the Presidential Saber awards from President Duterte, will be joining the Philippine Navy.

Hontoria was also given a house and lot in his home province during the ceremony. -PND

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